The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis boys tennis team ousted by Storm


May 5, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE — The Clovis boys tennis team showed lots of growth and potential this season.

It ended, however, with a 9-0 loss to seventh-seeded Cleveland in Friday morning’s first-round state tournament match at Albuquerque’s Jerry Cline Tennis Center. The 10th-seeded Wildcats, as a result, ended their spring at 7-4.

Though the ’Cats had a solid season, hopefully of the building-block variety, first-year head coach Brad Heath thought they were capable of hanging around a bit longer.

“We talked about being tournament tough,” he said. “Some kids didn’t come out playing, we weren’t tournament tough. This was a (Cleveland) team we had a chance to beat going in, we just didn’t perform well.”

There were a few things out of Clovis’ control — a broken racket here, a turned ankle there. And the Wildcats did get memorable matches from Sumito Richeson and Tony Betts at Nos. 3 and 4 singles, respectively. Richeson won the opening set of his third-singles match, 7-6 (7-3) before losing the next two by scores of 2-6 and 3-6. Betts had an even longer battle at No. 4, winning the first set 7-6 (9-7), before losing the next two hard-fought sets, 4-6, 4-6. “That was a marathon match,” Heath said.

“Tony and Sumito, they battled really hard,” Heath added. “They were good matches.”

At No. 1 singles, David Heath lost 0-6, 3-6; at No. 2, Colby Coiner was defeated 1-6, 0-6; at No. 5, Dyllin Gallegos lost 1-6, 1-6; and at No. 6, Brandon Heath was beaten 2-6, 1-6.

After the Wildcats knew they were going to lose the match, Coach Heath says he modified his doubles lineup a bit. At Nos. 1 and 2 doubles, the respective teams of Coiner/Grant Palla and Gallegos/Seth Romero were each swept 0-6, 0-6. At No. 3, Keltin Lamb and Brandon Heath lost 1-6, 0-6.

The resulting overall 9-0 defeat was not how the Wildcats expected or wanted to end their season.

“I think for Clovis tennis to improve,” Coach Heath said, “the kids need to play more tennis in the summer, get tournament tough and keep improving their skills.”

Coach Heath hopes to have Richeson, David Heath, Palla, Brandon Heath and Seth Romero as returnees to the 2019 team. That squad will try to take what came out of this season, positives and negatives, try to continue the positives, fix the negatives.

Positives and negatives and all, the ’18 team did have a decent run. And a lot of support.

“I want to thank community members for reaching out to us and being interested,” Coach Heath said. “That’s been nice, the community members reaching out to the coaching staff and the players, especially as we move forward.”


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